Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that has the added benefit of being a flexible form of exercise. It is intended for every body type, allowing you to modify your poses to do what works for your body. But many feel they will be a yoga failure if they aren’t thin and flexible and therefore, they don’t even try.
The Stereotype Creates Intimidation
It’s time to crush the stereotype that a yoga body is only for the slim women of the world. I know most of the time, when we scroll through Instagram yoga hashtags, we see beautiful photos that pop up of super thin women bending their bodies beautifully. We see them on magazine covers, yoga workout videos, and in the gym.
When we are continuously surrounded by this imagery of thin people doing yoga, people who may have a completely different body type from our own. It can start to create intimidation, and can cause people who’ve never tried yoga to have a fear of failure. This can result in them feeling too intimidated even to attend a beginner yoga class and discovering not only the physical benefits of a class, but also the deeper spiritual meaning of a practice.
Fear is a monster that we all need to deal with. But, if more people of various shapes and sizes doing yoga were promoted, the fear of not having the right body type for yoga would be reduced.
The Mindset for a Yoga Body
Just because you are not able to fold yourself into every pose right now, you still have a yoga body. Even if you are new to your practice, you still have a yoga body. Because you are committing to a mind and body experience, that means you already have a yoga body.
Remember that your body is strong and healthy, your body is capable, and you can breathe. Yoga is about balance, patience, and breathing. Even if there is a pose which you are currently not capable of completing, there are modifications that you can do while you are on your yoga journey. When you put in the effort, you will discover more than the surface of a yoga practice.
Stop looking at the most popular yoga photos and get inspired by someone you resonate with. Check out @BuddhiBox which posts images of women of all body types. BuddhiBox make it part of their mission to be body positive and inclusive. Another favorite is @nourishednatasha, who has over 60k followers on Instagram. She is a plus size yoga instructor and nutrition coach who is always inspiring us to nourish ourselves and work toward doing a headstand.
Another plus-sized fan favorite is @mynameisjessamyn. (Her book. Every Body Yoga was featured in the July 2020 BuddhiBox Yoga Subscription.) Once you see how capable these bigger bodies are of bending, you can start to believe in yourself. All it takes is practice, and sure these ladies have been invested in yoga for years. But, remember at one point they were also beginners.
Sometimes it’s not just about getting inspired by someone else you don't know. You can also motivate yourself. For example, making plans to go to a yoga class with a friend, could be exactly what you need to feel confident and motivated to get started.
You are Yoga Worthy
The bottom line is that you do have a yoga body already. You just have to learn to accept yourself and allow your practice to strengthen your mind and body. Once you start you'll see changes in more than your body, and you will begin to achieve and believe.
If you are new to yoga practice, start small. Learn the basic poses, begin building confidence in yourself. Try doing yoga videos from within the comfort of your own home or participate in an online yoga challenge. This is a great way to connect with other yogis, get inspired, and be part of a supportive community.
Start being the reason to break the yoga body stereotype. Take photos of your form throughout your journey and share them with the world. You could be the inspiration that someone else needs to jumpstart their journey.
Krista Brea is the founder of challnge.com, where she hosts monthly online health and fitness challenges. She is passionate about helping others on their wellness journey by teaching them to set goals and overcome mental barriers. In her spare time, she loves walking her dog, spending time in nature and listening to podcasts.